Lauren Wellbank

One mom and her struggle to survive until bedtime


Month: February 2016

The Banana Bread Muffin Lie

I committed culinary treason today.  I cooked up some “banana bread muffins” for my family that secretly had vegetables in them.  GASP!  Not veggies in the pastries!  For shame!  Alright, I am being dramatic but I definitely was a little duplicitous in my description of said muffins when I sold the idea to my husband.  They did have bananas in them.  And it’s not like I snuck lima beans in them.  It was just some carrots, and some squash, and some oat bran… okay maybe this wasn’t as healthy of an idea as I had originally thought.  Next time I need to sneak some chia seeds and kefir in there.

Note: I had to google “superfoods” to find out what to threaten to sneak in next time.  Um, I’ve had chia seed pudding, no thanks. 

I tracked down a good recipe (http://allrecipies.com/recipe/219330/toddlermuffins/ *muffins do not contain actual toddlers* if you want to see what it looked like before I made it ridiculous) that would allow me to sneak some different foods into everyone’s diet.

And I realize that this isn’t exactly my “Et tu, Brute” moment, but whatever, it felt pretty slick at the time.  And very sitcom mom/wife.

The main reason for this turn at underhandedness is my toddler.  She is in this whole new phase where if it’s not a juicy fruit (think watermelon or grapes as opposed to a banana or an apple), absolute junk food, or a pickle then she wants no parts of it.  Although, she did cram down some asparagus the other night but I honestly think that was just to make her pee stink.  She is a diabolical evil genius trapped in the body of a fifteen month old.  Giving me hell at every turn.

My husband on the other hand, well I just don’t think he would have been quite as willing to try a banana muffin if I told him that it also had squash, carrots, and oat bran in it because, well, that sounds pretty heinous to me.

So, I donned my apron and set to baking.  Here is how it all went.

I preheated the oven to 375 degrees (like it says to) and set to mixing my ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (since I decided on the fly to make these my butter wasn’t softened because it lives in the fridge so I just wedged it against the back of the stove using the spoon rest.  It wasn’t so much softened as it was melted which is kind of the same thing except way messier)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, or to taste (a half cup of brown sugar is the perfect amount.  Also if you pack it right it looks like a little brown boobie when you plop it into the mixing bowl)
  • 2 large bananas, mashed (it ended up being one over ripe frozen banana that I got tired of peeling half way through because it was so cold and one under ripe big banana that I had to smash with my snazzy avocado tool)
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) jar baby food squash (I have no idea how much of this I used.  It wasn’t a jar it was some weird double pack thing with a peel off lid.  And the container wasn’t recyclable, what’s up with that baby food squash makers?)
  • 2 carrots, grated (I got through half of one carrot before I decided that grating carrots is stupid and there should be some sort of machine that does this for you.  Then I thought about what would happen if I put it in the food processor and riced it.  Then I just gave up and decided half a grated carrot was basically the same thing as two)
  • 2 eggs, beaten (Yeah, this one I did.  Who doesn’t love watching those yolks break?)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (also did this one)

I pretty much did all the rest of these as I was supposed to.  Except the salt, I didn’t want to add salt to the muffins because we all get way too much sodium these days anyway.

  • 1/2 cup oat bran
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (go to hell salt, you’re not welcome in my toddler muffins!!!!)

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 24 mini muffin cups or 12 standard muffin cups.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar until smooth. Mix in the mashed bananas, squash, carrots, and eggs. Stir in the flour, oat bran, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt until just combined. Spoon the batter equally into the prepared muffin cups (I got halfway through spooning in my batter when I realized that I filled them too high and that when they rose they would be overflowing out of the tin entirely too much and had to go back through and make adjustments.  What a messy pain in the butt).

Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes (I did 17 minutes, and I feel like 15-20 minutes is entirely too much freedom for a recipe.  Five minutes is a huge cooking window). Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack (I went into the other room to get my daughter and put her in the high chair so that she could test out some of these magnificent muffins.  It was five minutes into the ten minute cool down and my husband had already eaten three muffins). Store at room temperature for up to two days, or freeze.

Put muffin you spent almost an hour making in front of daughter on high chair.  Watch her eyes light up as she realizes that she is getting a tasty snack.  Watch her little tiny hands pick up said mini muffin, put it into her adorable little mouth to take a bite, and then promptly throw it on the ground.  Try not to cry as the cats get to it before you do and alternate between swatting it and licking it.  Try not to laugh as your daughter screams like a banshee and demands cheese for lunch.  Like, just cheese mom, don’t bother with that “green smoothie” you were going to try and trick me into eating.  I won’t be having any of that either (she took two long pulls on the straw and then promptly pulled the straw out and tried to poke herself in the eye with it).  So she got her cheese, found a Cheerio that was stuck to the side of her high chair, and called it a day.  I ate my cold soup while my husband tried to console me by telling me how unhealthy banana bread muffins were anyway.

“Et tu, Brute?!”

 

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No School – a short story

Walking slowly, as if she was dreaming, Shelly moved towards the door at the back of the trailer.  In fact, this had to be a dream.  What she had just seen, she thought, well there was simply no way that this was real life.  There was another flapping sound.  The door leading to the room at the end of the small building was closed, but moments ago she saw it hanging open slightly.  She had been sitting on the couch in the living room when a movement from the corner of her vision caught her attention.  What she thought she was seeing was insane, but none the less, a small creature scurried along the floor.  It had been standing just in front of the door in the process of creeping into the living room when she originally saw it.  It let out a quiet gasp, then dashed back into the bedroom.  It was furry, like a long haired cat, but shaped more like a raccoon.  He (she had begun to think of it as male at once) could have been either of those animals, except for the color, which was a vibrant green.  The creature had softly closed the door and was now barricaded in her bedroom.

The wing sound fluttered again.  Slowly, while thinking maybe this really was a dream, she rose from the couch and started towards the door.  For the first time today she wished that she wasn’t home alone.  Her mother was at work.  She was home from school because they had the day off.  Her plan for the day had been a TV marathon, and then once it was a bit later, she planned to meet up with her friend Mackenzie. Mac lived a few streets over with her mother and her younger sister Brianna.  They were going to get together at the playground in the back of the trailer park after lunch.  Probably sneaking a cigarette or two from their mom’s and talking about boys.  Now all of that was pushed far out of her mind as she heard the soft flapping of wings again.  Her hand reached out towards the door knob.  She waited for the briefest of moments before turning it.

Being fifteen she was in that perfect place of being young enough to have no sense of self-preservation and old enough to know that there was probably a rational explanation for what was going on.  The door opened into the room and the day light brightened the dark hallway.  It took a moment for her eyes to adjust from the sot light of the TV in the darkened living room to the bright light coming in from the two large windows.  Unlike how she left the room this morning, the curtains were pulled all the way open.  Bright daylight flooded the room.  The fluttering sound came again and now it was easy to see where it had come from.  The creature that had closed the doors now hovered up at mid window level.  The windows had been cranked open and the screen was out.  Shelly tried to focus on the animal as it vibrated slowly in the light.  It made soft chirping noses.  There was no fear when she looked at him, just awe.  He was small, cute, and fantastic looking.  Shelly desperately wanted to pet him, but had a feeling that it would be rude.  The chirping became more urgent and his paw was now pointing towards the window, gesturing wildly at what was beyond.  Just then Mrs. Norris, the old lady from the trailer next door, walked into view.  She was looking at something Shelly couldn’t see.  Trying to get a better look, she walked closer to the window.  Mrs. Norris must have seen the movement because her eyes came down from the school and she locked eyes with Shelly.

“Close the windows, you fool girl” She hissed “Lock up.  Don’t let it in.”  And then, much more urgently and with a shudder, “Run!!”  Shelly stayed rooted there long enough to see Mrs. Norris start to lamely back pedal as a shadow fell over her.  Something was coming close and the shadow was getting larger.  Shelly didn’t wait to see what it was.  The critter she had begun to think of as Rocky disappeared through the open window with one last pleading (at least that’s what she thought) shriek cast back at her, and then flew towards Mrs. Norris’s house.  Shelly took two steps backwards before she fell over a pair of discarded shoes on floor.  The window was completely out of her field of vision when Mrs. Norris began to scream.  By the time her screams turned into a wet gurgle Shelly had passed through the door way and was frantically crawling back across the living room   The trailer was, from end to end, seventy feet.  Shelly’s bedroom on one side, her mother’s on the other.  Right before her mother’s door was the front door.  Shelly crawled as quickly as she could towards it.  She didn’t even dare stand once she reached it, she just crouched down on her haunches as she reached up to turn the knob.  Tumbling outside, the noise of Mrs. Norris’s untimely demise was much louder.  There was a brief moment where Shelly thought, that sounds like she is being eaten, before it was replaced when her new mantra of “You fool girl” and that last breathy, “run”.  So run she did.  Down the short walk way, to the end of the drive way, and onto the street.  Only slowing down once to pick a direction.  She chose the left because she could see a school bus coming down the street.  Never minding that there was a large shadow looming over head.  Never minding that the strange chirping she had only heard once before (in her bedroom) was suddenly ringing in her ears.  Never minding that there was no school today…

The bus pulled up alongside her and then slowed to a stop.  She had also come to a stop, hands on knees, trying to catch her breath.  The doors opened and out glided Mackenzie.  She was ethereal in a white formal gown.  Everything slowed down and then stopped as Mac came nearer.  The day seemed to darken all around her as she spoke.

“Join us.”  She cooed.  “It’s time.  He’s waiting”.  She embraced Shelly, her skin ice cold.  Out of all of the events that had taken place over the past five minutes, the feel of Mac’s ice cold skin woke something inside of her.  Sharpened her senses.  Reminded her that something wild was happening and that normal was something that only existed in the past.

“Mac, I love you, but please let me go.”  Mac abated giving her a wide, stretched too wide smile.

“Join us now, while you can.  If you wait, he will take you.”  With one more flash of her teeth Mac turned and got back on the bus.  Shelly saw other faces that she recognized on that bus (but oddly absent was Brianna).  They all smiled at her through the windows.  Each of them wearing that same face stretching grin, each of them visibly in white.  From behind the trailer, Mrs. Norris’s screams had long since stopped.  A new noise was now rising that set Shelly’s teeth on edge.  A flapping, so much louder than before.  The leaves on a nearby tree began to move in time with it.  Shelly turned, and ran once more.

Ahead, the exit of the trailer park became visible.  The only sound that she could hear anymore was the pumping of her own blood in her ears.  Her throat burned with exertion.  Once she made it clear of the trailer park she would be safe.  She was close enough that she dared to slow down, just to catch her breath once again.  Finally, the sound of her struggling heart quieted.  Just a moment, she thought.  Trying to muster enough saliva to cool her burning throat, she rested.  There was a moment of blessed silence, long enough for her head to clear, then the flapping replaced the pounding of her heart.  Everything went cold in an instant and then there was a sensation of fire burning deep within her.  Her throat was still too dry from running to produce a scream. Soundlessly her mouth stood open as she rose into the sky.

The sign for the trailer park was becoming smaller and smaller below her.  Fire burned deeply within her, so hot that she thought that she would go insane if it lasted much longer.  Before it burned her thoughts out completely, she once more heard the chirping from her bedroom.  Rocky was at her side for a moment. Then her mind went blank, as she received blessed relief from the flames within.  From below, the sign for the trailer park began to grow.

Yours, Mine, and Ours

Have you ever forgotten a family member? Not like Home Alone where you walk out the door and leave for a vacation but you forgot your young son at home.  I mean, somebody points at a picture of someone and says, “Who’s that?” and you have no idea who they are or why you are being asked the question.  That happened to me a few weeks ago.  My husband pointed a picture of one of my cousins and asked me who it was and I had no idea.  It took a few minutes (and some Facebook sleuthing, then a text to my mom to confirm) to figure out that it was a cousin.

There is a certain degree of craziness that comes with a mixed family.  And by mixed, I mean one that is combined by marriage, and not necessarily by blood.  There’s a lot of learning and growing.  You have to work yourself into relationships that have existed before you were around.  And you have to figure out how to work other people into your existing relationships.  We have a mixed family.  My mother is married to the man who is, for all intents and purposes, my father.  Their love story is long and adorable and involves middle school sweethearts and years of breaking up and years of making up… years and years… and years… it’s a long love story.

Fun Fact: Once, when they were in middle school, they wrote up their guest list for their “someday” wedding.  My mom held onto it and they had it up at their actual wedding.  A lot of people were on both guest lists.  And if I’m not mistaken, the best man remained the same. 

Having your family grow due to a marriage is kind of bonkers.  One day it’s just the family that you have known all your life.  Then the next day, BOOM, look at all these cousins!  There were three, now there are a million (and a million is not too much of an exaggeration.  I now have a HUGE family.  Let’s just say the family name is not Smith, but it’s close).  It has worked out really well for me so far.  My mom’s side of the family was small, she only had one sister.  My step-dad is one of nine.  My cousins make up some of my best friends (both the new and old ones).  And just about everyone knows that cousins are the best things you can have.  Way better than siblings because you actually have to share stuff with siblings.

Which brings me to my siblings.  I am one of FIVE now.  That’s right, FIVE.  It used to be just me and one brother.  Now it’s me, three brothers and one sister.  Due to age, distance, and a host of other things I won’t get into, I am only actually close with one brother and the sister.  For me it’s as though we have always been siblings.  Sometimes I forget that we’re not actually blood related (as was evidenced recently when I told my brother that his expected baby would be cute because my baby is cute and it’s hereditary).  They have both stood for me at my wedding, and I for them, at theirs.  We have fought, made up, laughed, cried, and been there for each other.  I don’t think I would have it any other way.  It was like we were all waiting for the perfect time to enter each other’s lives.

All of this naturally means I have about twenty aunts and uncles.  Aunts and uncles for days is what I always say.

Note: this is the first time I have ever actually said that.

I can’t even begin to talk about the awesomeness of my grandparents.  Both of my grandfathers passed away almost six years ago.  Both of my grandmothers are still busy being the strong and impressive women that they have always been.  Getting more grandparents is almost always a bonus.  Grandparents are the bee’s knees.

This doesn’t even include my in-laws.  And I may have hit the in-law jackpot because I have some of the best around.  Or my out-laws (family from my mother’s previous marriage that I didn’t keep in touch with, although with some of them, I wish I had).

Now friends, I bet you have reached this point (or maybe this thought came to you a few paragraphs ago) and are wondering what any of this has to do with you.  Absolutely nothing (unless you are a NotSmith, then HOLLER FAM).  This has more to do with the fact that I probably don’t tell any of these people often enough how much they mean to me.  The day to day stuff of life pushes so much to the back burner where it sits… simmering?  It depends on what you keep the heat of your back burner at.

For instance, I wake up thinking about my cousin and want to text her to check in. Then something catches my attention, then it’s something else, then it’s time to make lunch, then two days have passed and I think of it again but it’s too early.  Or it’s too late.  Then a few more days have passed and I realize that I wanted to talk to her two weeks ago and I didn’t.  Things come up, we forget about a lunch we talked about scheduling or a dinner we had talked about planning.  Then things really come up.  Someone gets sick, someone gets hurt, someone passes away.

When my grandfather passed away (six years ago next week), one of the things that really haunted me was that I felt like he never really knew how much I loved him.  I didn’t say it to him anywhere near enough.  Sure, my actions probably showed it.  And he was a smart man so I know that he knew, but I still had some guilt with a capital G (that’s Guilt, for you visual peeps).  I vowed then to make sure that never happened again, to always tell my family how much I loved them, and to not take them or my time with them for granted.

Then, guess what happened… EVERYONE DIED.  Just kidding.  What happened was something caught my attention.  Then it was something else.  Then it was time to make lunch… you know where this is heading.  Everything got back burnered again (it’s a real phrase, look it up).

And, the worst part of all of this is that life goes by too quickly for back burnering (also a real phrase).  People do get sick, they do get hurt, and sadly, they also pass away.  All of this happens before, during, and after I am busy making lunch or folding laundry or whatever it is that I do with my time these days.  Life doesn’t stop for me to make time to call my sister just as it doesn’t stop for me to grieve the passing of someone I love.  It also doesn’t slow down because someone is sick and I want to spend more time with them.  Laundry may wait, but I still have to make lunch and read to my daughter (unless I want to scrape her sobbing, kicking, and screaming body up off the floor).  Everything keeps going no matter what I want.

So, yes, this has nothing to do with anyone except for me and my one million new (but not really anymore) relatives- and the, like, five old ones.  Know that I love you and would do anything for you.  I just suck and letting you know.

And for anyone else that is reading, take time to tell the people in your life that you love them.  Unless you are surrounded by assholes.  Then it’s okay to tell them that they are assholes.  You don’t want them to die not knowing how you really felt.

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Lastly, everyone please make sure you keep up with your annual exams.  Early detection is key in most courses of treatment.  And ladies, make extra sure you keep up with your annuals.  Those cold hands may save your life!

Thanks Obama

I am going to start by apologizing.  I am sorry that I am even complaining about this because I know that in the grand scheme of things, there are people that don’t even have the luxury of stressing about this.

Last week my husband had his annual benefits meeting.  In it they reviewed the upcoming changes to their benefits packages.  From health insurance all the way down the AD&D plans.  He met me in the drive way when I got home from being with my grandmother, took our daughter from my arms, and then told me that we couldn’t afford health insurance any longer.  I laughed, because, well it was a ludicrous statement and he was the kind of guy that would make an outlandish claim like that out of frustration.

He took me inside and showed me the paperwork that they had received.  As he took our daughter’s coat and boots off he told me everything that had been said at the meeting.  I got a beer from the fridge and sat down in front of my lap top.  I pulled up my trusty excel file with our budget and went through our current insurance costs and input what the new costs would be and did a side by side comparison.  It was a $400 a month increase from what we were paying now.  What we were currently paying was already too high as our insurance didn’t really cover much (our daughter was sick over the summer and needed prescription eye drops.  A seven day supply cost almost $300 out of pocket).

I double checked all the figures because even my trusty excel has betrayed me before.  It still came out to an increase of more than our car payment.  I ran the numbers through a few different ways, tried some options that I was less comfortable with, and drank a few more beers.  I kept coming back to the same thought, my husband was right, we couldn’t afford health insurance any longer.  It was a terrible, sinking feeling.  For a few minutes I put my head in my hands and wallowed in it.

Then, I remembered Obamacare.  Ahhhh, that was going to save us!  A quick trip to Google later and I realized that we had missed the open enrollment period by TWO DAYS.  A few more clicks around the internet and I discovered that most of our other insurance routes were no longer options either.

I did not know that most insurance companies had their own “open enrollment” periods that they would not accept new applications after.  Apparently this is to keep people from waiting for an illness/diagnosis and then deciding to get health insurance.

Back to the drawing board I went.  My husband’s employer had included a bunch of pamphlets in their handouts.  Two of them were for government assistance programs.  I was incensed.  Not only were they offering such abysmal insurance options at an unattainable cost, but they knew it.  They were aware of it enough that they had taken the time to print out CHIP pamphlets.  They basically said, “We know that this insurance is too expensive to be an option for you.  Here, this number is usually for people who are unemployed but maybe they can help you.”  Incensed.

I did the math and then did it a few more times.  You know, because it’s usually that sixth pass where the numbers all change and everything makes sense.  I threw up my hands in disgust and then went into the bathroom to floss my teeth (apparently my go to stress reducer).  All the while the same words kept running through my head, we can’t afford this.  Only that wasn’t true at all.  We could afford it.  It was going to be a burden, but one that we could bear.  We just wouldn’t be happy about it.  I’d rather spend that money on getting our savings back up to prewedding/when I was still a business woman and LulaRoe Leggings (my new obsession, thank you very much).

I titled this, “Thanks Obama” in jest.  Also because I find the whole, “Thanks Obama” movement hilarious.  I don’t actually blame the president for the ever increasing costs of health insurance.  Just like I don’t blame him for the rising cost of living.  I wasn’t getting any raises under the Bush administration either.  Actually, it’s been under this administration that I had seen my longest period of continuous employment in my industry.  Not that I want to get started on that tangent tonight.  I’ll save that for another day.

So, what’s a family to do?  Right now we’re taking the ridiculously priced health insurance offered through my husband’s employer (it may be expensive, but at least it’s crappy… wait, those are two down sides), and calling an old friend of the family who is an insurance broker for some insight.  I am hoping that she doesn’t laugh at me and tell me that this is just the way the world is now (a very real possibility which would require me to apologize for all of the awful things that I thought, and some that I said, about my husband’s employer), and instead tells me that she has the perfect plan for us that is both affordable and awesome (yeah, I know, less realistic).  As dire as our situation feels in this moment, it’s still manageable.  I know for many, it is not.  All I hope is that we can continue to afford our health insurance alongside all of the lavish luxuries that we have grown used to, like the mortgage, heat, and food.  You know, basically living that Kardashian life.

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I want to take a moment to note that my spell check recognizes Kardashian as a word.  For funzies (not a recognized word, unfortunately), I looked up synonyms but there were none.  I don’t know if that makes me happy or sad. 

Since beginning to write this post, I have had another run in with the big bad insurance machine.  One of the many pills that my grandmother has to take daily (actually, this one is so important that she has to take it every eight hours, which is three pills a day) was denied by her insurance provider today.  It appears that insurance companies have their pharmacists review prescriptions periodically.  If they decided that a patient does not require this medication, they will deny the request for the claim.

Just in case you missed it; what I am saying is that there is a person who has never laid eyes on my grandmother, that ISN’T A DOCTOR, that has reviewed some of her medical information and decided that she doesn’t need this medication to live.

You can’t see it, but right now I am cracking a beer, shaking my head, and getting ready to thread some floss through my fingers.

Thanks, Obama.

I Am Too Old to Internet

It’s very hard to type this with my fists clenched in rage, but I will give it my best.  I am trying to do something simple to update the look of my blog, and I am ready to put my fist through the computer screen.  Was there some recent massive change to technology that I missed?  Did the internet get harder?  All of the sudden there are all these new words I have never seen before like “widget” and “favcon” and “SEO” (okay, that last one isn’t so much a word as it is an acronym).  Why do I suddenly feel like I went from being pretty much being the authority on all things technology, to not knowing anything?  Um, I am the person that had to set up the wireless router at my parent’s house.  I have to reset it for them when there is an issue.  I am literally our family’s IT person.  Just this very morning one of my parents called me from the computer room to help them print from a PDF.  I am kind of essential around here.  But right now I am pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to make the About Me section appear to the right of this post, instead of up on the tool bar like it normally does.  It is how the example blog is laid out, so I know it’s possible.  It just apparently requires a degree in computer science and the team that runs NORAD.  Even when I follow the very simple instructions it doesn’t work.

And if there is not a super cute picture of me floating slightly to the right of your screen as you read this, with the header of “About Me” in an adorable font, assume that I am lying in bed, my head under the covers, my hand wrapped in bandages, and my lap top on the trash because the internet has beaten me.  Technology one, Lauren zero. 

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My grandfather, who never made it all the way through middle school, taught himself how to use a computer.  He was very into genealogy and would do a lot of research down at City Hall, and then would come home and use a computer program (both on and offline) to sort and store all of it.  In the mid-2000’s, he decided to level up his skills and switch from a PC to a Mac.  I said, “Grandpop, are you sure you want to do that?  As the family’s IT person I have to tell you that I don’t know anything about Mac’s.  If you have a question I probably won’t be able to help you.”  That man was self-taught in almost all aspects of his life.  At his funeral I heard the charming (and also a little alarming) story about how he used to show up at job sites as a welder when he was first starting out and would claim to be experienced at whatever they were working on.  He would work the job until they realized that he actually had no experience.  Sometimes they would fire him on the spot and sometimes they would keep him on because he had picked up enough to do the job.  He traveled around the country doing this until he had actually accumulated the experience that he had claimed when first starting out.  I think he may the original “fake it until you make it” story.

As I stated, he was self-taught.  He navigated his PC very well and needed pretty minimal help from me.  Mostly I had to get on the phone and deal with AOL when something changed with them or if he had a question.

That’s right, I said AOL.  I just dated myself.  Now all the young people know why I don’t know what a widget is… she says as if young people still read blogs.  They probably have some newfangled way of getting content cyber-blasted straight to their eye balls.  And they probably don’t even call them eye balls anymore.  They probably go by “cerebral windows” or some nonsense. 

Note to self, patent “cerebral windows”, it’s going to be huge someday.

His transition from one operating system to another was pretty seamless.  Unfortunately his health took a turn and he did not get to use the MAC as much as he had wished.  If I remember correctly one of the first things he said to my mother after receiving his terminal diagnosis was, “But I just got that new computer.”  Men, am I right?

I, on the other hand, am having trouble even reading through the instructions for installing a plug in.  I stopped reading the directions to start writing this because I could feel my blood pressure rising when I had to stop every other minute or so and Google a word that I am pretty sure a teenager made up (says the woman that makes up words all the time, I know, the irony is not lost on me).

So, why don’t I know about any of this?  Is it because I spend most of my time on the internet looking up what my symptoms mean and trying to figure out if I should be using “affect” or “effect” in a sentence (spoiler alert, I’m going to get frustrated with that too and just use the word “impact” because… why not).  I used to laugh when you would see people on TV that would get overwhelmed with setting the clock on their VCR (dating myself again) and I would think, how can you not figure that out?  What is wrong with you?  Now I get it.  I grew up on that technology so as the new stuff happened I was immersed in it.  Technology today is so different.  It’s games and apps and plug ins and codes and a million other words that I know what mean in one context but not another.

I walked away from the computer and hid sheepishly in the bathroom for a while, flossing my teeth, because that was the relaxing break I needed (she said sarcastically).  My husband came in to get ready for bed and I was telling him about how I was just too old to internet, and how somewhere along the line technology had gotten away from me.  I was just going to delete my Facebook, throw away my kindle, and start a subscription for the Find a Word books my grandmother gets through the mail.  He laughed at me (luckily for him, not too hard) and asked me if I wanted help.  Apparently HE knows what widgets and favcons and all that other made up crap are.  We had a quick talk about technology and how much I hate it and then both went to bed.

While everyone else snored away happily, I laid there thinking again about my grandfather and how he would have plugged away at this problem until he figured it out.  Or he would have called me up and invited me over under the pretense of having pizza, and then he would have casually asked me if I could take a look at something for him.  I would have walked into the small room where his computer sat and there would be notebooks and notes scattered around filled with his neat block lettering.  His impossibly sharp pencils lined up next to the key board.  I would have known how to fix this problem for him.  And if I didn’t know, I would have worked at it until I figured it out.  I would not have punched his computer screen in a fit of rage.  And I probably would have had the tolerance to read all the Google searches instead of reading just a snippet of the top search and then declaring all of it stupid and made up.  I also would have been about ten years younger and a much more patient person than I am today.

Or, perhaps closer to the truth, is that I am more patient when it comes to things for other people (especially those I love).  I’d have taken the time so that I wouldn’t have let him down.  Hopefully my husband shares that sentiment with me.  Because, although my computer screen remains un-punched, my About Me still lingers up in the tool bar.  Mocking me, it’s a glaring symbol of my failures to keep up with the times.

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